IOS User Scenario
To help clarify the advantages of IOS, here is a short scenario that describes how a fictitious insurance company might evaluate and adopt REBOL/IOS within their enterprise.
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For 20 years Insuratron has provided commercial insurance for cross-country freight haulers. Known for quick and accurate claims assessments, the company serves a loyal customer base.
The company consists of:
- 50 employees based at a central office
- 30 incident investigators who roam the country
- 20 sales people who travel 80% of the time
- 100 agents in 50 cities across the US
The company is based downtown in a large urban area and to reduce congestion they encourage their staff to telecommute twice a week. About half the staff does so.
With personnel spread across the country Insuratron faced serious communications problems:
- Agents and sales staff often received new product information several weeks late. Marketing programs, corporate reports, special bulletins would frequently arrive after decisions had already been made.
- Investigators needed closer collaboration on claims reports with the central office and often could not reach critical support personnel or access important client information.
- Sales people on the road found it difficult to report back their status, participate in the company's decision processes, and communicate end-customer feedback and needs to management.
- Telecommuting employees were not efficient at their jobs. They constantly had to carry important information back and forth to the office, and it was difficult to coordinate and supervise their activities.
- The use of email was increasingly problematic. Messages were lost, attachments were not secure, and junk-mail and personal messages were mixed with important company communication.
- Applications were not compatible across all devices. Investigators preferred handheld devices, management and sales used Windows, marketing used Macintoshes, and the IT shop used Solaris and Linux. As the company grew, linking incompatible software and systems became prohibitively expensive. Different groups in the company lost touch with each other, and important information became inaccessible to some members of the team.
Requirements of a Solution
Insuratron wanted a real-time collaborative Internet solution that would include:
- Robust security in order to keep all communications and documents confidential.
- A reliable mechanism to directly deliver products, marketing materials, corporate announcements, HR bulletins and other types of files.
- A means of having ongoing on-line discussions and conferences that were private and free from spam and junk-mail.
- A simple and efficient method of tracking the progress and status of all employees.
- A set of collaborative tools for managing people, time, costs, and resources.
- An effective and efficient telecommuting solution.
- A system that would allow them rapidly to create custom applications to suit their own specific needs.
- A solution that operated across a broad range of devices.
Trial of IOS
Insuratron noticed that IOS Express addressed each of these needs. They began a low cost, low risk, two month, 10 user pilot project to evaluate the system. They were pleased to find:
- That IOS installed on their server in only 10 minutes, and that it took about 30 seconds to install it on each client system.
- The IOS Conference reblet immediately solved many of their communications needs. Employees used it at the central office and at home. Agents, investigators, and salespeople felt more in touch with the office and had a direct, noise free (and spam-free) channel to discuss issues and seek solutions.
- File sharing became easy, allowing the central office to distribute and synchronize their marketing packages and other documents directly to their agents and staff. Entire directories of files could be delivered and maintained exactly as they needed.
- The system was totally secure by default. All communications and files were transferred using full strength encryption that was transparent to users.
- Employees and agents in the field could be productive on their laptops and hand-held devices even when disconnected from the Internet.
- It ran on all of their computer systems and devices, even on the IT departments Solaris and Linux boxes. They made no additional hardware purchases.
- In only one week, the Insuratron IT department customized three of the standard IOS reblets to better suit the requirements of their insurance company.
Success of IOS
Within months, the Insuratron really began to click. People made decisions based on solid information. The staff began to work together more efficiently as meetings, status reports, contact lists, brainstorming, and problem solving became regular on-line activities. The pilot group became dramatically more productive and efficient.
After two months, Insuratron deployed the system company-wide to all employees and agents. The cost of the system was extremely affordable and was based on the number of users, allowing them to add new users at any time for minimal cost.